Friday, July 18, 2014

The Edges Are No Longer Parallel: Part 3

The show at the Los Angeles Sports Arena was amazing. Not that the intimate show at The Observatory wasn't. It's just that it was a much larger venue in stark contrast AND the special guest was Tom Jones. 

For this show, my husband came along. In the past, I had left him in a cloud of dust so that I could clamber to the front of the stage to grab Morrissey's hand or something but since I'd seen him at a smaller venue, the idea seemed less appealing. Also, I didn't want my husband to feel I was abandoning him once again.

Roland and I met up with Stephanie and her friend briefly and I introduced Roland to Euan and Conor (from the UK) as well as Mason from NorCal. Actually, that is when I met Mason for the first time. Mason is from San Jose and he had made friends with Dickie and the guys when they attended the show in San Jose. He's a lot of fun and he also had plans of joining us for the After Party.

Tom Jones began after Krysteen's set, of course. He was simply an awesome performer. A LOT of energy to get the crowd going-just what the opening act should do. It was fun to sing along to songs that I knew from childhood, since my mom was a fan. I can say that I savored every moment because I knew I was seeing a legend. 

It was during this time that the venue really started to fill up. I was on the floor so there was no seating, but we could move around, at first. I began to feel like a domesticated farm animal. For, once everyone knew Morrissey would be up next, there was an uncontrollable surge forward. And once Morrissey took the stage, it was like being swept away. The only thing that really annoyed me was that there were a few groups of people who joined hands and just bulldozed their way forward not caring who or what got in their way. It was a riptide of assholes.

This was the first time I'd ever experienced such behavior from Morrissey "fans."

Morrissey was fantastic, as I stated before. Would you expect anything less?. The set list, virtually the same as The Observatory, was more for the Morrissey fan than The Smiths fan. For example, "Life is a Pigsty" and "Trouble Loves Me" are songs he has not sung live for many years and came as a welcome surprise. Also, he sang some songs from the new album. "World Peace is None of Your Business" and "The Bullfighter Dies."

Although my "dainty" feet were hurting from all the standing, I was still determined to attend the Moz Disco after party at Mal's Bar in downtown. My husband scoffed when he saw the bags under my eyes. But he underestimated the powers of my second wind.

It took AGES to get out of the LA Sports Arena parking lot! I began to worry whether or not I'd actually make it to Mal's. It was while I was pondering and going absolutely nowhere that I fell asleep in the car while Roland drove. It was a bit of genius, really. A little concealer under the eyes and a power nap work wonders!

Since we stayed in Los Angeles and Roland did not want to dance the night away, he dropped me off at Mal's. I walked in and was greeted by Dickie, Matt, Conor, Euan, and the Battis Sisters (from Boston). 

Yes, we danced our "legs down to the knees." Yes, we sang until our voices were raspy. But the most fun was just singing together and in some cases, serenading people. 

Conor was the "International Playboy" due to the numerous hickies he collected in San Jose. And, Jose is the "Lifeguard on Duty" of course. It was just great fun to be together with people who enjoy Morrissey as much as I do, especially when they had come from so very far away to see him and to enjoy themselves.

I think by the time I had arrived at Mal's I had about an hour and a half before the bar closed. But we surely made good use of that time. The sign of a good evening is waking up the next day sounding like a chain-smoking, whiskey drinking old barfly, and completely wiped out. Well, the evening fulfilled those requirements!

The only difficulty was saying good-bye to Dickie, Matt (dubbed "Young Boz" at The Cat and Fiddle), Conor, and the Battis sisters. I knew I'd miss them and strangely, I still do! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Edges Are No Longer Parallel: Part 2

Stephanie, Me, Angie, and Johnny in line at LA Sports Arena (photo by Angela Reyes)

"Is your name Dickie?" I asked the bald man loudly as Krysteen Young belted out a song with her new band at The Observatory in Santa Ana.

The man clearly did not hear me correctly or else he only hear PART of my question as his eyes irritatingly scanned me from head to toe.

"Fuck off!" He said as he stormed away holding two pints of beer.

I looked over to Stephanie who was standing on a booth chair and leaning against a wall. Not phased, I said, "Not him." shrugged, and climbed in the space next to Stephanie.

Both Stephanie and I are fans of Dickie Felton, the author of two books focused on Morrissey fans and fandom. His first book, The Day I Met Morrissey, contains fan's personal encounters with Morrissey and his second book, Morrissey International Airport is Dickie's own account of concerts he traveled to attend and the Morrissey fans he met on his journeys. 

I met Dickie through Twitter and I had arranged concert tickets for him and his traveling buddy, Matt. So, of course, I was thrilled at the chance to meet him, but unfortunately, we didn't meet him at The Observatory show. No wireless and it was crowded. Seriously, I am sure a few fire codes were broken at The Observatory show. Intimate, but if you had any reservations about being in crowds, the pit was not the place for you. 

Stephanie and I avoided it in exchange for comfy seating.

Fortunately, we had plans to meet up with Dickie and Matt at our favorite Morrissey-related pub, The Cat and Fiddle on the following Friday, the day before the LA Sports Arena show. We arranged to meet up with Vanessa (another Breakfast Champion), Jamie, Euan, and Conor.

Stephanie and I had dinner in West Hollywood before we were supposed to meet up with everyone and dinner took slightly longer than we had anticipated. We were worried that Dickie and the guys would have already had a few drinks and moved on. We didn't want to miss our chance of meeting them. I sent Dickie the message: "Are you wasted yet?" 

I mean, that's REALLY the question I wanted the answer to, isn't it?

Luckily they were not wasted yet and I  finally was able to meet Dickie. Our first conversation, surprisingly, was little to do with Morrissey and more to do with running. You know I run. Dickie not only writes books but he also runs half marathons quite frequently. "New Slang" by The Shins came on and we began to talk about that moment when you are running somewhere beautiful and the right song comes on and tears come to your eyes. Not really tears of sadness or happiness but a release. It's like the release of just knowing you are alive-something like that. So, that was our connection. I think that song will forever remind me of Dickie. Strange, because it isn't a Morrissey song.

Later Amy and Abby Battis (Breakfast Champions from Boston) arrived and joined us. Jose Maldonado, the DJ for Breakfast with The Smiths came by and had a beer or two. I think for the Battis sisters and for Jose, it was nice to meet someone whose voice you only heard and now they could place a face and a persona with the voice.

Stephanie and I said we would leave for the OC by eleven but we didn't leave the pub until 1:30 AM. This was because it was one of those nights when everything just clicks. You joke around and have another drink and the conversations just flow. It was like that.

The thing I recall as we were leaving was overhearing Jose and Matt discuss their quiffs. I heard Jose say, "When I go swimming, it stays in place." 

Tomorrow: LA Sports Arena with Tom Jones and the Moz Disco.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Edges Are No Longer Parallel: Part 1

Morrissey at The Observatory in Costa Mesa, CA
I sat in a corner in a crowded pub minding my own business during the first United States game of The World Cup. Amid the cheers and shouting, I was approached by a friend who knows my passion for all things Morrissey.

"Morrissey cancelled AGAIN!" He said pointing at me. Suddenly the pub became quiet and heads turned to look at me as I cowered.

With my head bowed and avoiding eye contact I said, "I know," apologetically.

It isn't always easy to be an obsessed Moz Head. It requires a great deal of patience and an innate ability to suffer humiliation and shame from time to time from people who don't understand Morrissey and our undying love for him.

Before it all went horribly wrong, it was incredibly right. The month of May was an amazingly busy month for Morrissey fans especially those in and near Moz Angeles.

If you have been reading my blog-ever, or even from time to time, you notice that I tend to do a lot of the things I do on my own driving from the OC usually to Los Angeles. But I was lucky enough to meet my new friend Stephanie, who lives in Orange County AND adores Morrissey and she is not as old as I am (nobody is except for Morrissey), but we are in the same age range.

I met Stephanie at the Kevin Cummins photo exhibit of pictures of Moz called Moz Goes to Hollywood at Mr. Musichead gallery in Hollywood. She just looked out of place so I correctly assumed she was from my edge of the woods. 

Kevin Cummins so very kindly took me personally through the gallery and shared stories of what it was like to photograph Morrissey at that particular time in his career. The photographs ranged from his days with The Smiths to his solo career in the 1990s.

One of the stories seared into my memory is one he told me about a picture of Morrissey early into his solo career amid beautifully wrapped gifts. He told me that Morrissey never opened his gifts. He just got so many of them that there was no point. I mean, there could be some real gems in those packages but there is no way he could lug everything around in his travels. Seemed sort of sad to me but understandable.

Stephanie and I went to dinner at The Cat and Fiddle pub after the gallery closed. We just clicked in the way that you do on the rare but precious times when you feel like you've known someone forever even though you just met. 

Luckily, we also met up at The Observatory in Santa Ana for Morrissey's first southern California concert of his tour. We stood in line together and watched Morrissey together and we both KNOW Moz was looking at us when he was singing "Speedway" because we both had tears of joy and understanding.

See, the thing about my friend Stephanie is that she is gorgeous. I mean, in my single days we used to call such girls, "bait" because a group of girls could "cast" a "hot" chick like Stephanie into a crowd of men and "reel" her in. Then, the rest of us "purse holders" might have a chance with what was left over.

So, I'm willing to risk being forever known as "the other girl" or "Stephanie's friend" because not only is she gorgeous but she is funny as hell and has a quick wit. 

So, if you carry on reading my blog-and if I could ever get my act together enough to write it regularly, you will encounter stories featuring Stephanie. 

Tomorrow Part 2 will feature meeting Dickie Felton, the LA show and the Moz Disco after party. Yes, I know this all took place in May and it's now July. But retrospect can offer better insight sometimes. Forgive me.

Yes, I know World Peace is None of Your Business is out soon. At the rate I'm going I won't get to talking about that until September!